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Simple Things* #10

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The sun throws light from the sky while the ground gives food to all green things. But how do they know to put their long and thin feet into the ground and their green hands in the air? Green living things have a sense to know what is up and what is down. In one kind of special tiny water bag they make tiny stones – these stones are made from the stuff we use for food made in a hot box that we eat in the morning.… Read more

There’s no such thing as ‘the’ Arabidopsis genome

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the year 2000, the first complete nuclear genome of a plant species – Arabidopsis thaliana – was released into the wild (a.k.a to bunch of salivating scientists). Less than twenty years later, we had a total of 1135 genomes… for Arabidopsis alone! Today we’re talking about Arabidopsis ‘races’, and how they are a powerful tool for unravelling plant secrets.… Read more

Throwing Shade

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Dingdingdingding it’s a new episode of the plants and pipettes podcast! This week, Tegan brought you a paper about how plants recognise their family growing left and right of them. Joram looked at vernalisation and how it is triggered after winter when plants bolt and produce flowers. Enjoy!… Read more

RuBisCO: Room for Improvement?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to the final instalment of our three part series on RuBisCO. Today, we discuss three key ideas and attempts to improve RuBisCO… or at least to more efficiently clean up its mess. … Read more

Simple Things* #9

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Green living things can’t move to one another like animals do to make more of themselves. So, they use smaller animals to help them. Green living things have cups at the end of their stick-like bodies, and these cups have colors and smells that make small animals want to come to them. A green living thing puts some special stuff that sticks to things at the end of long tiny sticks in the middle of the cups. This special stuff is important to make more of the green living thing.… Read more

Mushroom Diet: The Orchids who give up Photosynthesis

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When we think of plants we tend to make certain assumptions. Green, for starters. Photosynthesising, for sure. But some plants have decided to throw it all away, and act like the animals do. Meet Epipactis helleborine, an orchid species that sometimes lives entirely on a diet of mushrooms.
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PEPC is the new RuBisCOla

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Last week, we discussed how RuBisCO, although incredible and amazing…is also a little bit terrible at its job. Today we’re introducing a couple of cheats that plants have found to work around RuBisCO’s issues, and what this might mean for the future of food and fuel for humankind.
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Simple Things* #8

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you want to study a certain bit of parents’ information you often first have to make more of that parents’ information – from one or several pieces, to several tens of hundreds or hundreds of hundreds of hundreds of pieces. The information is stored on two long pieces that are sticking together.

In order to make more, the parents’ information is first made hot, to force the two sides to not be together anymore.

Then, you choose two very small parts of broken up parents’ information that fit to the ends of a piece of information that you are interested in.… Read more


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Another fortnight, another episode! In episode 2 of the Plant and Pipettes Podcast we explore again two journals from the past months. Joram brought up his favourite topic: urine irrigation of meadows by cows and the resulting nitrogen cycles. Tegan on the other hand talked about research on photorespiration and how scientists found a shortcut that could result in massive increases in crop yield.

Paper 1: Tonn B, Porath I, Lattanzi FA, Isselstein J (2019) Urine effects on grass and legume nitrogen isotopic composition: Pronounced short-term dynamics of δ15N.Read more